I missed my birthday blog this year. Because my birthday is so close to Christmas, I tend to think about birthday resolutions instead of New Year resolutions. I tuck myself away somewhere and think about where I’ve been and where I’m going. Some years I’m sad. Some years I’m frustrated. Some years I just want more.
I always want more. I think that’s the core of me, if you looked deep down inside. I’m built around this throbbing nub of want.
It takes me places, but it never makes it easy to get there. I’d joke to my now-ex a lot this year that I’m like a shark — if I stop moving, I die. It’s sink or swim around here. I don’t think he ever thought it was funny.
Everything changes, everything stays the same. I said that last year, funnily enough.
I’ve pulled a deck chair into the middle of my grandparents’ overgrown garden. No one lives here since Nana was taken to the home, but the lawns are mowed and the apricots are picked. My uncles, I think. One of the windows is boarded up where the paramedics had to break it to get in, and everything looks tired and old now that it’s empty. There are birds everywhere. Rabbits and butterflies. Nests in trees bowed over with unpicked fruit.
Nature is taking over.
My childhood self is still here: climbing the woodpile like it’s a pirate ship, daydreaming hidden in the crook of the massive olive tree, stuffing my t-shirt with socks in front of my grandmother’s vanity. I’ve always looked forward, but here I look back, too. There are trees growing in the shell of the pool now, but I look at it and see myself as a toddler, being swooped around in my father’s arms, my brother and I tucked under one arm each. Or, older, sinking under the water to watch the sunlight dapple above me, to find that particular watery silence.
That’s what I’m doing this weekend: finding silence.
I feel like a russian doll, like all the versions of myself going back 31 years are packed in here with me. We’re all layers of the same person, but any of the others weren’t the whole story. I’m still not the whole story. I’m sitting here, raw, waiting for my next layer.
I love all the younger versions of myself, but they were all so clueless and so hopeful. They hurt my heart to think about them. I like to think I’m protecting them, this outer layer I have now. But that one’s pretty fucking clueless too. And still so painfully hopeful.
I’m glad — I hope I’m never finished. But sometimes it’s hard to accept that my skin will always be this thin.
My ambitions outstrip me; they always have. But at the same time, this year I started a business that’s currently more successful than my nerves and my work ethic can handle. I got my dream job. I partook in an actual adult relationship for 8 whole months, and I learned some hard truths and got some hard answers about why I’ve never felt like that fit. I hope the answers mean more for me in the future, rather than less.
Every year is better than the last year, but every year means letting go a little more, too. Refining, I’d call it. Realising that what I want and what I can do aren’t always on the same page, and actually, there are some things I don’t want, too.
31. I have hopes. I always do. I’ve worked so hard to get here: to be confident with people, to have this wild, awesome life, to be wholly myself. I’m not there yet, but I’m closer every year.
Sometimes, when I’m lying in bed at night, I think of myself as the centre of a web. I picture where everyone I love is and what they’re doing, and I draw a little silken spider-line from them to me, until I’m radiating out across the country and the world. I’m so lucky to have and to know all these people.
And even if I’m difficult with intimate relationships, I understand why better now. Maybe I’ll talk about it someday. But for now it’s more than enough to know that I know the people I know. And that my heart is full of love for every silly, crazy, beautiful one of them.
These are good days.
I have a plan for what’s next, I think. For this blog and for me, creatively. It involves this house and my memories of it — a way to take the past and make it the future, I hope. I’ll keep you informed.